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Claranet rejects 'cold feet' claims over VIA deal

'Absolutely going ahead'

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UK ISP Claranet has dismissed speculation that its bid to acquire cash-strapped VIA NET.WORKS "looks set to hit the rocks".

Striking workers at VIA's Amen web hosting subsidiary issued a statement yesterday claiming that, according to their sources, "it seems Claranet have gotten cold feet" and that the deal "looks set to hit the rocks".

Workers backed up their claim by saying that a deadline for Claranet to acquire VIA has been and gone without any agreement. Had Claranet wrapped up the deal by 23 April then it would have won a €500,000 discount on the purchase price.

However, Claranet has rejected the claims insisting that the deal is still on.

A senior spokesman at the UK ISP told The Register: "The deal is absolutely going ahead and we expect to sign shortly."

Two weeks ago VIA - the business-focused telco in Europe and the US which faced an "urgent liquidity problem" - announced it had agreed to be rescued by Claranet for $27m. As part of the deal, Claranet coughed up a $3m deposit for exclusive negotiation rights with VIA until 30 April. The rescue deal angered workers at VIA's web hosting subsidiary, Amen, prompting them to walk out in protest. Although VIA has drafted in workers to cover the industrial action, a backlog of customer support issues is building. ®

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